La Push and the Hoh (part 2)

Written on September 28, 2014

The Hoh. Enough said. Greenest of the Greens.

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La Push and The Hoh (part one)

Written on September 28, 2014

At the end of Decemeber, friend Lucas and I went to the Washington Coast, past Forks to La Push. We visited First, Second and Ruby Beach. We stayed the night in Forks, and the following day we went for a hike in the Hoh Rainforest. These are quite possibly some of the most magical areas in The Olympic National Park. It was foggy, chilly and the perfect epitome of winter weather in Washington.

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The Historic Bigelow House

Written on September 23, 2014

This past December, The Bigelow House and Museum opened its doors to the public during a day long tour of historic Olympia Homes. I lived right down the block from the museum, and walked or drove past it almost every day. It was a pleasure to finally explore the interior and gain a brief glimpse into Oly’s storied history. (I had also just taken a day long digital photography workshop at The Photo Center Northwest and was refining newfound in-camera skills.) Olympia, please do check out this amazing cultural resource right in your backyard!

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Nisqually Christmas Hike, 2013

Written on September 23, 2014

The Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is one of my favorite places to bird watch in the South Sound area. I never tire of watching the seasons change in this beautiful wetland or awaiting seasonal migrants to appear in the seasonal grasslands and salty tidelands. Here are some of the birds I saw, minus the Northern Harriers, Peregrine Falcons and Bald Eagles (too fast and too far away).

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Kalaloch Beach, Washington Coast November 2013

Written on September 22, 2014

In November of last year, I drove to the coast for a crisp, socked in afternoon. I can almost smell the surf from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Wupatki National Monument, The Grand Canyon and Sedona

Written on August 28, 2014

In October 2013, I was invited to give a lecture about my work to students and faculty at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. It was a wonderful experience. NAU has well cared for facilities and Flagstaff and the surrounding area is an adventurer’s dream. Here are images from an overnight to the Grand Canyon, including Wupatki National Monument and a day hike to Sedona, a New Age Mecca.

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The Grand Canyon at the South Rim. We arrived in the late afternoon and stayed through sunset. The light was beautiful. We returned early the next morning and hiked several miles along the rim, taking the shuttle to various points of interest. It was so beautiful. Every turn in the path revealed even more spectacular views. The bright, flat light and slight haze made taking photographs difficult, however.

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The following day’s hike:

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Sedona at one of the Vortexes. Yes, there were white girls doing yoga on top of giant rocks. Yes, I laughed.

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Camping outside of phoenix in a beautiful State Park. Sunrise over Saguaros!! Magic.

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Old Fort Niagara

Written on January 12, 2014

While in Buffalo, I visited Old Fort Niagara with my Grandmother and her long-time, live-in boyfriend, Gordon. I hadn’t been to Old Fort Niagara since a field trip in 4th grade, of which I have fairly vivid memories. I believe I even built a popsicle stick replica of the grounds as a school project.  It was fascinating to see the Fort again and once again learn about its rich history.

The Fort is located at the mouth of the Niagara River, on the shore of Lake Ontario outside of Youngstown, New York.  First held by the indigenous Iroquois Nation, a Fort was erected by the French in the 1720s after nearly 50 year of intense fighting with the natives. Over the course of the next century and a half, it played a pivotal role granting  and protecting trade access throughout the Great Lake region. Control of the Fort bounced between the French and British, later serving as an outpost for the American Revolution. The Fort was expanded upon and later used as a training facility during the Civil War, Spanish-American War and World War I. During WWII, the Fort was used as a POW camp for 1,200 German Soldiers captured in North Africa. It was then made into an  emergency housing facility for returning US veterans. The US Army finally deactivated the Fort in 1963. According to Wikipedia, the “Bottoms” area is still in operation as a base for the US Coast Guard, making the Fort one of the longest continuously run military bases in the United States, from 1726- present day. An in-depth history is given on the Fort’s website here.

The treasure of Old Fort Niagara is the “French Castle,” erected on the site by the French in 1726, though the Fort had already been established and held by the French for the past 50 years. Originally a trading post, it was later expanded to include defenses against the British. And then, of course, there are the British reenactors! With muskets!

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The drawbridge had been recently renovated and was very impressive. The moat would have been the entire Fort’s latrine. Imagine trying to swim in that.

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Grandma and a very young, nervous reenactor.

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Apparently, the Fort is haunted. The most famous spirit is a headless ghost that supposedly haunts the French Castle.

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The French Castle is truly gorgeous– renovated to show the various historical uses it has served over the past 250 years.

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If you ever find yourself in the Niagara Falls area, I highly recommend this jewel of a historical site. It’s well worth the trip. On clear, sunny days, you can see Toronto across the Lake. The surrounding waters are also popular for sail-boating. Seeing tiny ships out in the water from the walls of the Fort give further context to how important this area once was for trade– it was truly a gateway to the west!